Saturday, 25 January 2014
Mainly concerning ducks...
First stop today was Chingford and a little hike to Connaught Water, snap up a few Mandarin and perhaps the female Smoo, that has been residing of late. The little hike took a bit longer due to the plain being mainly composed of mud, with the remaining bit being standing water. Didn't take long for my boots to be the same.
I think someone moved the lake, because it wasn't were I last saw it, its now several hundred yards further north. Luckily I found a path which had bits of small gravel mixed in the with the mud and water and was able to track it down. We think we've got problems with aresoles and their dogs on the patch, these are of another magnitude.
Found a small group of male Manadarin getting a bit frisky, as were the Teal, but then again it doesn't take much to get a duck frisky. Couldn't find the Smew, or the Hooded Merganser (so that must have been kosher all along), but did stumble across what looked like a crime against anases (ducks not bums!). Apparently according to my Key to Wildfowl of the World by the late Sir Peter Scott, it/they were Ringed Teal and not a mix and match of duck genes as they appeared. Hailing from South America I expect that they got blown in on all these Sou'westerlies we're having. Surely not an escape; I mean to lose one bird because your too f**kin stoopid to pinion it is one thing, but three birds? I am sure the fabulously rich people who have enough land and think so highly of themselves that they need their status reflected in their private collections, aren't such complete tossers that would fail to prune three ducks!
So a viable population in the making there then, and soon to be added to the British and London lists, so a heads up to you eager London listers.
Sloshed back to Chingford station and caught a bus up to Mansfield Park. No-one seems to be doing the Girling these days so I thought have a butchers and score some BN Grebe. And I did, best views I've had from this view point half a county away. Definitely three, but probably six, which is way down on what's been there in the past.
Time up I skied down the slope and then realised I didn't have my keys to the KGV. Twat! It meant I would have to find another elevated position somewhere down the road. As it turned out, on the road. No sign of the GN Diver from my limited viewpoint, which means I may have to chum Josh down there next week - if it's still there. Did get some Goosander year tickery!
From there I sloshed down the side of the KGV to Sewardstone, the Gunpowder Park (Stonechat and singing Skylark) and wearily made my way to the Cheshunt lakes.
Friday lake (or what ever the hell its called) was devoid of Smoo, but had a rather nice female Goosander and nothing else. I finally caught up with a male Smew on Hooksmarsh hiding under a willow. Unfortunately missed the Bittern by minutes, because I was trying to string any Greylag into something more interesting somewhere else.